Thursday, February 28, 2008

LAUSD takes on the home advantage

By teaching immigrant parents simple ways to help their children and to reinforce what is being learned in class, kindergarten teachers at Lillian Elementary in Los Angeles are taking practical steps to reduce immigrant children's drop out rates in Southern California. Parents are instructed to direct their children in tracing numbers in salt on cookie sheets, make letters with play-doh, or simply improve children's verbal abilities through increased communication. The teachers believe that lack of parental help sets children up for a disadvantage when they enter school, so the course emphasizes parents acting as the primary educators.

I think this program sounds very beneficial as long as there are parents, like the ones mentioned in the article, who are eager to help their children achieve academically and have the time to consistently make the extra effort to build their children's academic foundation. The article mentions how the principal gave incoming kindergarten parents exercises and goals the May before the school year to help their children catch up, however when they entered kindergarten the same children were still behind. While parents may want to try and help their children, it may just come down to a time issue rather than simply not knowing how to help their children. However, if parents can make the commitment, I can see that teaching them how to help their children will be extremely beneficial and will effectively reduce the dropout rate, especially since LA Unified policy does not aid these children until second grade.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Being a big believer in early childhood education and taking every opportunity to teach kids things when they are still sponges, I completely see the light in an idea like this. I have often wondered why more programs have not been implemented by schools to teach parents how to educate their kids. I am in a childhood development class right now that has showed me the absurd amount of time children are spending in front of the TV-an activity that uses less brain power than sleeping! I guarantee there are a number of parents who just don't know that slight shifts in their children's after school activities could make such an impact on their motivation and their education. On the other hand, I do realize the reality that many parents don't have much time to spend with their children after school...but even if a language barrier is keeping parents from helping their kids with homework, it would be so beneficial to show them ways that they can improve their childs learning beyond school work.

-Ellen Webb, Ed 175